God answers all prayers of believers one way or another. It may be years before an answer comes, even a lifetime. The answer can be yes, no, or wait. But sometimes an answer is revealed in only minutes, or even instantly. Following are a few of those “yes” answers that came so quickly. Some are my own and some from friends of mine. I hope you will be encouraged to remember some of your own quick answers.
I was driving home years ago from Macon with two grandchildren. We had been to a doctor’s appointment and had splurged with a shopping spree afterwards. Now it was late afternoon. As we drove up the ramp onto interstate 75 I noticed the forbidding clouds and hoped it wouldn’t rain much. I very much dislike driving in heavy rain. Only minutes later a deluge hit us. With windshield wipers at fastest speed I still couldn’t see anything, tail lights ahead of us, the side of the road, nothing. Panic rose into my throat. I gripped the steering wheel and heard myself telling the kids to pray. Instantly the rain stopped, just as if Someone had turned off a faucet. We didn’t have a wreck but were safe for a ride home in sunshine!
Another time our crisis was in Julie’s kitchen. My daughter, Julie, had a very bad condition which kept her at home much of the time. I had delivered her two children home from school and had barely parked at my house, just up the street, when Amanda, a young teenager at the time, called urging me to come down in a hurry. “Mama fell in the kitchen and her legs are both locked up,” she told me. Amanda and I tried our best to unlock Julie’s legs which often locked up in painful pretzel shapes several times a day. This time we couldn’t relieve her. We piled on hot rice bags to no avail. We needed a man’s strength, but neither Julie’s husband, Doug, nor her father would be back in town for hours. Praying, with our own tears mingling with Julie’s, Amanda and I tried one more time to straighten first one leg and then the other but they wouldn’t budge. Just then we heard the front door open and in walked Doug. He masterfully straightened Julie’s legs, picked her up, and put her back in bed. When I asked why he came home so early from his electrician job in Tallahassee, he shrugged, as I remember, and grinned his charming grin. “Just got off early, don’t really know why.” But I knew why. God had answered that prayer before I even prayed!
My friend Anne Parks tells of a time when she was very lonely and weary as she worked in her garden. There, between rows of beans (or was it squash?) she voiced out loud her need. Her prayer was something like this: “Lord, I’d so like to have a dog, someone to keep me company. But you know I can’t really afford one right now.” She continued picking beans, filling a bucket. Suddenly she heard a hassling sound and there came a black dog his tongue hanging out as if he were smiling. He lay down close by in the dirt. He looked at her in what she described as a tender way, as if he’d known her since puppyhood. It turns out that Rufus belonged to a neighbor down the country road who worked in town all day. Rufus became Anne’s dog in the daytime and went home to his other family at night. He has never since that day failed to come to Anne’s house until recently when his aged arthritic body has kept him on his own porch. Anne, as always when she tells me about answers to prayers, laughs in spontaneous joy and says, “Isn’t God so good!”
Sally Whitfield wrote this: “It was the holidays and my birthday. I was ready to get out of the hospital in a town where I did not live. Would the doctor finally come and release me? But then I would have to call my husband (miles away) to come back and pick me up. I was weary from all the procedures. My husband was weary going back and forth between our home and the hospital. I prayed, ‘God, I want what you want but you know I really want to go home today.’ Immediately a couple of friends appeared in my hospital room, followed quickly by my doctor saying ‘Let’s get you home.’ This couple offered to take me home. The answers were already on the way when I prayed. He is faithful in all his ways.”
Harry Hughes answered my request for a quick prayer testimony with this: “My most recent big (for me) answer was on May 7th. It was Daniel’s (my son’s) hooding ceremony for his M.D. It was a big milestone event and the culmination of much sweat and prayers. Heavy traffic in Columbia was making my time of arrival uncertain, down to the minute. As I was leaving the car to enter the conference center, I reached for my mask and discovered it was gone. I think I would be better off shoeless in a room filled with doctors than to be without a mask. Not having time to go buy a mask, my prayer for one was answered when I timidly stuck my head in the door and found out they had souvenir masks with the USC Medical School logo. Problem solved and I was not late.”
Barbara Payne wrote: “Recently, I found out I have breast cancer. My first thought was I don’t want chemo but for my children I will consider it. When test results came back and I met with my surgeon, he explained that the kind of cancer I have doesn’t respond to chemo. Therefore, procedure will be surgery and radiation treatments. How good is God! I didn’t have to make that decision!”
Whether we’re at the end of our rope, in a quandary, facing health issues, or simply needing encouragement, God is faithful with imaginative surprises which, though possibly insignificant to someone else, almost take our breath away. Remember, He is closer than the air you breathe!
Psalm 46:1–God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.